Saturday’s home victory was just another notch in the men’s and women’s fencing team’s collective belt.
The Elis clinched a victory over Sacred Heart (6-1 men, 2-2 women) at home this weekend, finishing with a score of 21-6 for the women’s team (10-3, 0-0 Ivy) and 20-7 for the men’s team (4-7, 0-0 Ivy).
The women shut out the Pioneers in both the epee and the foil with six 3-0 victories. Despite the Elis’ domination in those two weapons and the eventual overall win, the women lost 6-3 in the sabre.
The men’s squad had similar success, with Matt Chaiken ’08, Michael Aboodi ’07 and captain Chris Sinay ’06 all finishing 3-0. Though the epee victory was close, 5-4, the final win was no surprise.
“We were confident going into [the competition], and it showed,” Ethan Wais ’07 said.
Alisa Mendelsohn ’07, who went undefeated in the foil, said the women, who had never faced Sacred Heart in competition before, were equally self-assured.
Jennifer Cohen ’09, who joined Mendelsohn in dominating the foil, expressed similar sentiments about the team’s overall strength.
“[We] have been doing wonderfully all season, so it wasn’t a great surprise when we performed well,” Cohen said.
Despite minor struggles in the sabre, the women’s team as a whole has faced much stiffer competition in the past, Mendelsohn said.
“We’ve definitely had stronger teams to fence,” she said. “So we expected to win.”
Although neither team was surprised with the day’s outcome, members of both squads admitted feeling the high energy provided by the packed stands of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium’s seventh-floor balcony.
“The crowd really pumped us up,” said Erin Frey ’08, who came back from a first-round loss to finish 2-1 in the sabre, that squad’s best finish.
Saturday marked the first and last time that Payne Whitney will host fencing competition this semester.
“This was our only meet [at Yale], so it feels great to win at home,” Sinay said.
Many fencers said they feel that fencing against the Pioneers, who provided few roadblocks for the Elis, was just preparation for the next two weeks of Ivy competition that Sinay called the most important part of the season.
“All that really matters is the Ivy League,” he said.
The Elis will use the motivation of last weekend’s blowout to face Penn, Harvard and Columbia in the Ivy North meet at Cornell on Feb. 5.
“[The matches are] going to be a lot tougher [in the upcoming weeks], but we’re going into them with very impressive records and a strong team,” Cohen said.
The men, who have struggled in past competition, have finally come together, Chie-yu Lin ’07 said. Lin also said that Corey Werk ’06, who recently returned to the team after deciding not to fence last semester, will add additional strength to an already cohesive team.
Regardless of the looming competition, the Elis’ strength this weekend certainly built up the momentum, Sinay said. Yale head coach Henry Harutunian, who, arms akimbo, wore a smile throughout most of the competition, exuded similar confidence as he called “Bravo, bravo!” from the sidelines.
For now, the fencing teams, which boast a sticker reading “Fencing: the oldest modern sport” on the front door of the seventh-floor gymnasium, can only wait for the first call of this weekend’s competition: “En garde. Ready. Fence!”